Living in Light of Two Ages
History & Christianity
Do we have any evidence about the existence of Jesus or the rise of Christianity from sources outside the New Testament? Is it true that passages about Jesus in the writings of Josephus have been proven to be fabrications? Joining the panel is historian Paul L. Maier, author of In The Fullness of Time and editor of Josephus: The Essential Works (originally aired June 27, 2010).
People often ask me about good resources on intellectual history--much of this is spurred by our Friday night Academy class discussion as we go through Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith.
I struggle with what to recommend--many resources are too difficult for some, or too hostile to the Christian faith. But one set of lectures keeps coming to mind, and which people have found to be very helpful.
I am thinking about Allen C. Guelzo's lecture series "The American Mind" which was produced for The Teaching Company (Guelzo--The American Mind). Guelzo is a great lecturer who consistently finds the right balance between mundane facts and primary sources, interesting background material, and his own interpretation of the data.
Guelzo argues that the two streams which merge to form a distinctly "American mind" are Puritanism and the Enlightenment. He develops this theme from America's founding through the First Great Awakening, the Jefferson/Jacksonian eras, the Civil War era, the Gilded Age, down to the present and Neo-Conservatism (a list of lecture titles can be found here: (Guelzo--The American Mind). The content is a bit difficult at places (if you don't have any background in history or philosophy), but using the study guide really helps. And you can always listen more than once (which also helps). Any course on the "American Mind" which includes the contributions of Hodge and the Old Princetonians, and mentions Machen is worth the time.
The Teaching Company courses often go on sale. That would be the time to snag this one.
Guelzo has written a number of well-received books: [Jonathan] (Edwards on the Will), a stellar book on Abraham Lincoln (Redeemer President), a history of the Civil War (Fateful Lightning), as well as a new book on Gettysburg, which is at the top of my book pile.
As a caveat, I have enjoyed a number of courses from The Teaching Company through the years (Greenberg's course on "How to Listen to Great Music" was especially good), but I do advise caution since they also feature Bart Ehrman's lectures on the New Testament and early church.
From the Daily Mail On-Line (Click Here).
"Men who are physically strong are more likely to take a right wing political stance, while weaker men are inclined to support the welfare state, according to a new study.
Researchers discovered political motivations may have evolutionary links to physical strength.
Men's upper-body strength predicts their political opinions on economic redistribution, according to the research."
Well, that settles everything, doesn't it! You gotta love what passes for journalism these days. Undoubtedly, some (especially those on the right) will run with this as "proof" of what they've suspected all along. Yet another sign of the lamentable state of current political discourse.
I, for one, sure don't fit the "scientific" data. I'm no fan of the welfare state. I side with Hayek and Schumpeter over Keynes. And let's just say that while I once held a record for the fastest time on an obstacle course, I'm good for one, maybe two, pull-ups these days. And I'll be sore for a week for attempting them. The six-pack is still there. One is in the fridge, and the other is buried under a couple of inches of middle-age paunch.
In his short essay, "What Is Calvinism?" (from the Presbyterian, Mar. 2, 1904, 6-7), B. B. Warfield writes,
"`There is a state of mind' says Professor William James in his lectures on `The Varieties of Religious Experience,' `known to religious men, but to no others, in which the will to assert ourselves and hold our own has been displaced by a willingness to close our mouths and be as nothing in the floods and waterspouts of God. [James] is describing what he looks upon as the truly religious mood over against what he calls `mere moralism' `The moralist' he tells us, `must hold his breath and keep his muscles tense': and things go well with him only when he can do so. The religious man, on the contrary, finds his consolation in his very powerlessness; his trust is not in himself but in his God; and the `hour of his moral death turns into his spiritual birthday."
Says Warfield in response, "the psychological analyst [William James] has caught the exact distinction between moralism and religion. It is the distinction between trust in ourselves and trust in God. And when trust in ourselves is driven entirely out, and trust in God comes in, in its purity, we have Calvinism. Under the name of religion at its height, what Professor James has really described is therefore just Calvinism."
William James, by the way, once called himself a Methodist without the Savior.
A number of you have asked me, "where can I get a copy of your new commentary?"
Here are the places I know of so far (and prices vary greatly)
You can order it directly from the publisher: Tolle Lege Press, Christian Reader
From Monergism: Monergism.com
From the White Horse Inn Bookstore: White Horse Inn bookstore
Westminster Seminary California bookstore: Westminster Seminary California Bookstore
From Amazon: Amazon
The Nineteenth in a Series of Sermons on 1 Corinthians
In chapters 11-14 of 1 Corinthians, Paul gives us a fascinating account of what actually transpired during the worship service of an apostolic church. From Paul’s account, it is clear that worship in the Corinthian church centered on the proclamation of Christ crucified, followed by the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The problem in Corinth is that the Corinthians were celebrating the Lord’s Supper in such a way that the Supper had become virtually indistinguishable from one of the banquets held in a pagan temple or guild hall. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for this behavior in no uncertain terms. Yet in doing so, Paul also spells out the meaning of the Lord’s Supper as well as informing us why the Supper occupies such an important role in Christian worship. All and all, this is a fascinating passage and we’ll spend the next two sermons working our way through the balance of this chapter.
In First Corinthians 11:17-34, we have the earliest account of the Lord’s Supper in the entire New Testament. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians was probably written about 54 A.D., before any of the canonical gospels had been written. The Corinthian letter, therefore, gives us a very important insight into the Supper as it was celebrated from the earliest times. The Lord’s Supper is the New Covenant equivalent of the Jewish Passover, and like the Passover, was celebrated as part of a larger fellowship meal, which followed what we might call the ordinary worship service.
As we have seen in previous sermons on this letter, it is vital that we attempt to understand Paul’s discussion of the abuse of the Supper against the backdrop of Greco-Roman culture, with its emphasis upon feasting and communal meals. Such meals were commonly celebrated in one of the pagan temples or guild halls throughout the city. On the one hand, the Corinthians would have been very familiar with communal meals like that one instituted by Jesus on his last night together with his disciples. Yet, on the other hand, the Corinthians would have dined only with those of the same social standing and profession, or with members of the same religious sect. The Supper as instituted by Jesus was intended to unite God’s people around their common faith in Christ, not divide people along racial or socio-economic lines as was apparently the case in Corinth.
To read the rest of this sermon: Click Here
Sunday Morning (05/19/13): We are continuing our series in the Gospel of John, and we come to Jesus' assertion in John 8:31-47, that "the truth shall set you free."
Note: After our morning service, we are holding a reception for our church organist Dr. Pam Compton (wife of our associate pastor Andrew) on the completion of her DMA (doctorate in musical arts) from USC. You can read more about Pam and Andrew here (scroll down a bit): Click Here
Sunday Afternoon: This Lord's Day we are continuing our series on the Canons of Dort. We are looking at the First Head of Doctrine and the Canons' teaching on God's eternal decree in election (Articles 6-7). Our afternoon service begins @ 1:15 p.m.
Wednesday Night Bible Study 7:00 p.m. (05/15/13): We are continuing our series "Studies in the Book of Revelation." This week, we turn to the letter to the church in Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29).
The Academy will resume in the Fall of 2013
For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website: Christ Reformed Church
Has Jesus Been Misquoted?
In his many books and speaking engagements, Bart Ehrman claims that—given the late date of most extant manuscripts and numerous copyist errors—the New Testament that we have today is basically unreliable. On this program, we will evaluate these claims with Daniel B. Wallace, a New Testament scholar who has engaged with Ehrman in a number of public debates over the past few years. Wallace is also the editor of Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament, and is a contributor to The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart Ehrman and Daniel Wallace in Dialogue.